It is a clear concept that you will not buy a product if you do not know about its existence. That is, you can offer the best product in the market but, if customers are not aware of it, do not expect high sales revenues. In order to solve this problem, companies need promotion. There are four main promotional methods: advertising, public relations, personal selling and sales promotion.

Advertising means informing customers about products and their advantages trying to encourage them to buy them. There are different advertising channels as commercials, billboards or newspapers. Although each channel is most efficient in specific areas, them all have a common advantage, they will get customers to know your product. It is also necessary to take into account that those advertising methods can be expensive and that a limited audience will be reached.

Public relations purpose is developing and keeping save the company’s reputation. Its most important tool is publicity. Every moment a media talks about a product or service, and has not been paid to do it, improving the companies’ performance, publicity has taken place. Publicity implies no cost and tends to be more credible than advertising. On the other hand, publicity is “free” and thus you have no guarantee on whether the information will be helpful or harmful for your business.

Personal selling implies informing about products, selling and giving advice to customers. Although personal selling is a very expensive method of promotion it might be worth using it. This strategy allows a good targeting of its potential customers and is a good method of coming up with new product ideas, as there is a direct contact with consumers and their needs.

Sales promotion main function is encouraging earlier or increasing sales. Some examples are price reductions, free samples, gifts… This method is very useful when the customers’ attentions needs to be caught or when attempting to get people to try the product or service. The inconvenience is that sometimes consumers are not interested in the product but are attracted by the coupon, rebate… itself.

In conclusion, promotion is an essential tool for companies to improve their public awareness in the market. The four promotional branches (advertising, public relations, personal selling and sales promotion) accomplish this purpose applying different tactics depending on the specific company’s needs and wants.

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